These Free Apps Will Actually Pay You to Skip Those Holiday Desserts

Woman Eating a Slice of Neapolitan Pastiera Pie
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My self-control is out of control.

And by out of control, I mean I have none. Especially when it comes to sweets. As you can imagine, the holidays are a particularly difficult time for me.

Sweet potato pie? One more slice, please. Homemade fudge? I’ll eat it ’til I feel sick. Caramel cake? Don’t count on leftovers…

But this year, I’m making big plans to step away from the dessert table. I’ve spent the past few days considering my options.

Sure, I could excuse myself from the table and run far, far away. Or I could just hide in the depths of my childhood closet, only emerging once every last crumb is gone.

Or I could do something slightly more normal: I could reward myself — in cash and gift cards — for skipping dessert.

Yes, you can actually get paid to lose weight.

I’ll share with you a few strategies I’m considering.

1. Walk It Off, Man

Sometimes the best tactic to avoid any situation is to just say no and walk away. (Isn’t that what they taught us in D.A.R.E.?)

For that reason, I’ve downloaded two apps that’ll reward me for the number of steps I’ve taken.

  • Achievement: This is an app you can connect to other apps to keep track of your daily activity.

For example, hook Achievement up to your Fitbit, Garmin, MapMyRun or MyFitnessPal (among a bunch of others). It’ll keep track of your steps and reward you in points. Once you collect 10,000 points, exchange them for a $10 gift card. About 20,000 steps equates to 50 points.

On that note, I’ve got to say, this isn’t the fastest way to earn money, but it’s so passive I don’t mind. Plus, Achievement delivers weekly progress reports to my inbox, which motivates me to keep moving.

  • Qapital: Achievement pays you, whereas with Qapital, you pay yourself. This is an app that helps you automatically save money.

Download the Qapital app and create a savings goal for yourself. Then set some rules. One of my favorites is the daily step goal. I have my account set so that when I reach my goal of 10,000 steps a day, the app pulls $2 from my checking account into my Qapital savings account.

I’ve got to say, the app is fun to use — if even a bit addicting. I used it last summer and managed to tuck away $700 in about five months toward a vacation.

Go ahead and set up a fun goal for yourself before Thanksgiving dinner, then you’ll feel more motivated walking away from those desserts.

2. Bet Yourself You Can Skip Dessert

Because I have terrible self-control, I have this Negative Nancy voice in my head saying, “You can’t do it. Give up.” This goes for anything — from going on a two-mile run to lifting five-pound weights to, yup, skipping dessert.

But as I grow older and wiser (lol), this voice is slowly fading. Plus, it helps when I have something I’m working toward — like money. You can quite literally get paid to lose weight.

The holidays are a wonderful time to sign up for a service like HealthyWage to keep yourself accountable. HealthyWage allows you to place a bet on yourself and your weight-loss goals. (Yeah, with, like, real money.)

Start by using the HealthyWage Prize Calculator. Here, you’ll enter how much weight you’d like to lose (a minimum of 10% of your starting weight), how long it’ll take (six to 18 months) and how much you want to bet (anywhere between $20 to $150 a month). The calculator then determines your price amount.

Then, officially place your bet, agreeing to pay the monthly amount for the duration of the challenge. When you hit your weight-loss goal (yes, when!), you’ll earn your prize. If you don’t hit your goal, the money goes toward HealthyWage.

Read some inspirational HealthyWage stories here before setting out.

Bye, Negative Nancy.

3. Get Out of The House

If you’re lacking in the self-control department, I have to say: This might not be your best tip. (You’ll understand why in a second…)

Anyway, download the Shopkick app. It’s one of our favorite cash-back rewards apps because you don’t even shop to earn money back. Our very own Khiem Nguyen has earned nearly $400 in gift cards using Shopkick.

Here’s how it works: You earn kicks for completing various tasks. These include walking into affiliated stores (like Target, Best Buy and Walmart) and scanning barcodes of various items throughout the stores.

I started using the app recently, and it definitely becomes a game. How many items can I scan in Target? Which will reward me with the most kicks?

The only issue? I get blinded by all the pretty, shiny products along the way and have to resist impulse purchases.

But once I hit a certain amount of kicks, I can exchange them for a gift card. Right now, I’m working my way toward a $25 Amazon gift card.

Needless to say, this has become a fun game to play when I have to run errands. And it could prove to be a fun way to escape the temptation of dessert and to scope out Black Friday or after-Christmas shopping crowds.

You can even get your family and friends in on the action and refer them to sign up. When they do, you’ll bank 250 bonus kicks.

What do you think? Is money a strong enough motivation to pry you away from the dessert? Are you ready to get paid to lose weight?

*Sighs deeply*

We’ll see…

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s just going to tell her mom to make licorice pudding — because that’s probably the only dessert she’d never eat.

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